March 2020 – Ellen O’Donnell

Meet: Ellen O’Donnell

1. What is your current occupation?
I am a Social Worker (LICSW) by trade, and currently a Program Manager at the Aids Support Group of Cape Cod (ASGCC) for our Falmouth (coming soon) and Martha’s Vineyard offices.

2. What do you love most about your job and why?
I am fortunate to work with an extraordinary group of likeminded colleagues, at the Aids Support Group of Cape Cod, who are all dedicated to making a lasting impact on our communities. ASGCC is committed to saving lives through prevention, education, and life- sustaining services that address public health crises across the Cape and Islands. We provide services to people living with HIV, work to prevent the spread of diseases, and utilize harm reduction practices to fight the opioid epidemic. We strive to create a “safe place” for all and we continue to build positive relations in hopes to provide support throughout one’s journey. Our team fights to reduce stigma around HIV/aids and addiction, and reduce the negative consequences of the current opiate epidemic. I am grateful to be a part of such a great agency, while sharing a mission to help build a healthier community!

3. What has changed in your industry in the past five years?
In recent years, there has been an increase in unintentional opioid-related overdoses, overdose fatalities, and people seeking substance use treatment. ASGCC is one of the community-based agencies participating in the Massachusetts Overdose Prevention Initiative. Our Harm Reduction Specialist / Community Educators provide Overdose Education and Narcan Distribution to those who are at highest risk for an overdose and all community members who are interested. ASGCC continues to play a key role fighting to save lives and to connect people to the treatment/ resources needed during this challenging time. While working closely with the Department of Public Health, we continue to expand our services, to reach the community need. It is my goal to continue building strong partnerships in the community, to link arms and join forces together, as we continue to combat this public health crisis.

4. How has CapeSpace improved your work life?
It’s afforded me a quiet, very comfortable environment to work while awaiting the completion of our new office in Falmouth. It’s helped with my overall commute on certain days that I need to be mobile in Upper Cape. It’s also close to local eateries, businesses and grocery stores, which can indirectly help maintain a positive work life balance. At the end of the day, whether it’s an confidential phone call, conference call / Webinar, or having someone in for a face to face meeting CapeSpace offers a clean, contemporary space perfectly suited for operating daily business at a high level.

5. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time I enjoy cooking, being with my family, entertaining guests and spending time outdoors with my husband Patrick. I love hiking, fishing, being on the water, and dining out. I’m especially fond of lounging on the beach with a good magazine! From trips to the Beachcomber or Chatham Light to exploring the beaches of Falmouth – I love how there is always somewhere new to try on Cape Cod.

6. What is your favorite place on Cape Cod?
One of my favorites places is the Knob in Woods Hole. It’s a beautiful place with special memories and every time I go there I remind myself how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful area. It’s also a great beginning to the scenic Falmouth Road Race!

7. If you could invite any three people living or dead to a dinner party who would they be and why?
My two grandfathers who recently passed away and Anthony Bourdain. I would love to show them both the life I am creating on the cape and both had a passion for cooking and traveling the world. Anthony Bourdain would be a fabulous addition because of his endless travel stories, amazing culinary skills, and ability to find all the local hidden gems.

8. What is your superpower?
I’ve been gifted with the superpower of being able to read and empathize with people from all walks of life.